The most bittersweet bobblehead

When I saw this bobblehead on preorder, it was during a time when it was all but assumed that Freddie Freeman was going to re-sign with the Braves.  After all, he helped deliver a World Series, he loved Atlanta, Atlanta loved him, and there was no logical reason why he shouldn’t stay with the team.

The thing is though, I’m really bad at spending money, and I often times don’t pull the trigger on things that I want, despite the fact that I’ll have a tab open for something for eons and refresh it daily, hoping for god knows what, maybe a fucking free button or something.  But more often than not, I wait too long, something goes unavailable, and I’m left wondering why I didn’t just purchase it from the onset.

Such, was the case with this one, and after weeks of looking at it and telling myself that I needed to get it, I didn’t, and then the preorder window closed, and I was left wondering why the fuck I didn’t pull the trigger on something again.

But then a strange thing happened, the Braves traded for Matt Olson, signed him to a massive extension and then Freddie Freeman signed with the Dodgers, shattering hearts all across the state of Georgia.  For some reason, I still hadn’t closed the tab to the Freeman bobblehead, and on one day after the Freeman departure, I refreshed and it looked like preorders were suddenly available again.  Despite the fact that I was sad as hell that Freeman was gone, I still felt that I needed this bobblehead, to cap and commemorate an occasion I had waited my entire Georgia-residing life for.  I might more or less be out of the bobblehead collecting game, but this was still something that I felt I needed for the small collection that I’ve actually kept on display.

And it finally arrived this week, rekindling all of the emotions and thoughts of the whole Braves-Freeman separation.  The Braves are playing pretty well, and the Dodgers are leading their division, with Freeman playing well himself.  It is a distinct reality that the two could end up meeting up in the playoffs again this year, which would be all sorts of a drama bomb if it happened, but I’m in a position in my life where it doesn’t really matter anymore.

But still, as happy as this bobblehead makes me feel, to remember the instance where I finally bore witness to one of my teams winning a championship, it’s still also a reminder of the sad events that occurred afterward that closed the window on what should’ve been a memorable and maybe successful title defense and an open window of Braves success.

There are no winners in the Freddie Freeman saga

Man, despite the fact that it’s pretty well known that Freddie Freeman is about the most likeable human being to ever play the game of Major League Baseball, I wouldn’t ever have imagined him being the center of one of the more dramatic baseball storylines to have occurred in, well, this generation, so to say.

To quickly summarize, as quickly as a wordy blabbermouth like myself can do: 2021 was the last season of Freddie Freeman’s contract with the Atlanta Braves.  Inexplicably, the Braves win the World Series, everyone is on cloud nine, Freeman is all but expected to re-sign with the team.  Over the winter, baseball actually goes into a labor-centric lockout, where teams are prohibited  from negotiating contracts with players.  Lockout ends, everyone maintains that Freeman is guaranteed to re-sign with the Braves.  Somewhere along the path, negotiations don’t seem to materialize and suddenly news breaks that the Braves have made a trade for Matt Olson, the all-star first baseman from the Oakland A’s, effectively dropping the mic and saying that they are moving on from Freddie Freeman, sending shockwaves throughout Braves Country™.

It was reported that Freddie Freeman and the Braves were unable to come to terms of a deal, citing that Freeman wanted a six-year deal, but the Braves were only willing to offer a five.  It wasn’t long afterward that the Los Angeles Dodgers would sign Freeman for six years, and in terms of business, the saga was complete.

However, in the media, the saga continued as after all the involved teams started buttoning up their rosters, words would emerge from the Braves’ camp, and Freddie Freeman himself, and a very sad and almost tangible sense of hurt feelings from both parties would continue on.  The Braves blathering on about how they’re a business and that no one person is above the team, Freeman insinuating that he felt slighted that the Braves didn’t pursue him hard enough, and all over the place, be it other baseball peers, fans, legends, everyone’s taking sides on who they backed in this surprisingly public beef between the Braves and the former face of the team.

Regardless, the dust would settle fairly quickly because Freddie Freeman is better than everyone else and allowed it to resolve and said all the right things, because he’s just such a good fucking human being, and the 2022 season would begin with the Braves embarking on a life post-Freddie, and Freddie suiting up for the goddamn Dodgers of all other teams out there.

Needless to say, the weekend of June 24th was earmarked heavily by the Braves and their marketing department, because it would mark the one and only visit of the Dodgers to Atlanta on the season, and the first-ever visit of Freddie Freeman as an opponent.  As the date drew nearer, I heard that the team was resorting to standing-room tickets because the demand was so high.  And as the team had been doing all through the year, which is something that I thought was pretty cool, was doing individualized ring ceremonies for any contributors from the 2021 squad who had moved on to other teams.

So the weekend came and went, with the Dodgers taking the series 2-1, in three fairly heavily contested games.  As expected, Freddie Freeman’s return was an emotional event for pretty much everyone, as he was given a hero’s welcome and all the respect in the world, numerous standing ovations and cheers no matter that he was a Dodger.  Freeman cried at least 57 times throughout the weekend, basically every time he was behind a microphone while he was presented his World Series ring, and any time he had a moment with a former teammate.

It’s clear that there was and always will be a tremendous amount of mutual love between the Braves and the city of Atlanta and Freddie Freeman, and the games themselves were kind of an afterthought compared to the giant lovefest of Freeman’s return.

But then just a day later, news broke that seemingly out of nowhere, Freddie Freeman had fired his agent, Casey Close of Excel Sports Management.  The timing of it happening right after the visit to Atlanta raised eyebrows everywhere and next thing we know, the book of the Freddie Freeman saga is being reopened.

Continue reading “There are no winners in the Freddie Freeman saga”

Figures

Figures Freddie’s Freeman’s first Dodger home run comes against his former frugal fiscally fixated failure of a franchise that he was the face of.

No knock on Matt Olson; I’m sure he’s an okay dude, who is doing his job of starting off positively with the Braves, but I can’t help but feel it’s poetic looking at this picture of Freddie Freeman home run trotting past his replacement after hitting his first homer for the Dodgers.

Yes, I will be salty about this for a little while.

The Braves didn’t deserve Freddie Freeman, anyway

In short: Braves’ Dodgers’ Freddie Freeman takes a second out of a game to share a moment of compassion and empathy for an opposing player with a hug and comforting words upon finding out that his dad had recently passed away

If people outside of Braves Country® were not that familiar with the kind of human being Freddie Freeman was, playing in big fuck you market Los Angeles will definitely help spread the word, of just how loveable and more or less perfect of a human being that he is.  It took all of what, 5-6 games into the season for Freddie Freeman to already get noticed for, being the Freddie Freeman who was the heart and face of the Atlanta Braves over the last decade?

Just like that, Freddie Freeman reminds everyone that baseball is still just a kid’s game, and that it’s okay to have fun, but also the importance of sportsmanship, humanity and just being a good person.

I haven’t followed baseball enough over the last few years, but I do know who Jose Iglesias is, primarily an elite glove guy, which at a premium position like shortstop is usually adequate to always have a job in the big leagues, but already my heart goes out to him, for hearing of the news of his father’s passing.

Freeman is no stranger to being everyone’s best friend, regardless of if they’re a teammate or not, and upon finding out about Iglesias’s dad, and his general reaction, he wasted no time in Freddie being Freddie, and offering up a hug and comfort, regardless of if it were an opponent.

This right here, is what Freddie Freeman brings to the table, regardless of his batting average, slash stats, WAR and other tangible evidence of baseball talent.  Aside from being a legitimate MVP-caliber player, he’s just a guy that gets the game of life, and that there are always things that are bigger than just baseball.

As for the Braves, they just didn’t deserve him.  Yes, I’ve read a lot of the scuttlebutt about how the whole thing transpired, and all the of the actual salt and fabricated sugar at the end of the journey.  But the reality is that the Braves really could’ve tried harder prior to free agency, but they didn’t, because they’re the Braves and everything the team does has to be fiscal this and shareholders that and it always boils down to money, in spite of the fact that baseball is a ridiculously lucrative venture that has revenues in the legitimate billions on a yearly basis.

No disrespect to Matt Olson, who is doing his job and starting his career with the Braves as the successor to Freddie Freeman pretty hot, but there’s not a single part of me that still wouldn’t wish to have Freddie Freeman on the team instead.  But the Braves couldn’t get over all the numbers swirling around Freddie, as far his age versus Olson’s age, the dollars, and the years asked for, and this is where we are as a result.  Short of winning a Roberto Clemente Award for exemplary citizenship, I can’t imagine there’s much Olson can do to replace all the intangible and little things that Freeman brought to the Braves for all his years.

I know it happens to every sports fan at some point(s) in their lives when they have to watch a beloved player go elsewhere, and sure the Braves are primed for potential success all the same, but losing Freeman, a guy I legitimately watched grow up with the team, all the way in the minor leagues, all the way to a World Series championship, that’s one that the sting is going to linger a long time.

lol baseball: paying for luck

Over the last few days, I saw some highlights from a Rays game where an outfielder was pitching, which meant that the score was already way out of hand, and the team just wanted to save the bullpen as well as have a little bit of fun.  I’m not sure if the guy was deliberately trying to make a mockery of pitching, but it was still interesting to watch his goofy forward leg kick push off the mound while he lobbed 46 mph lollipops.

And just a day later, the Braves were blowing out the Nationals so badly that the Nats sent Dee Gordon whom I had no idea was even on the Nationals now, to pitch.  And in one of the already iconic moments of the year, he accidentally plunked Travis d’Arnaud with a 52 mph soft pitch who flopped like a World Cup-level futbol player, bringing laughter, joy and entertainment to everyone who had seen it.

We’re not even 4-5 games into the season, and teams are already getting blown out to the point where position players are coming in to save the games, as in give us something to be entertained about, other than an embarrassingly lopsided score. 

lol baseball indeed.

The thing is, despite the fact that these position players are hurling these slow-ass meatballs, they are still accomplishing the job of keeping the game moving forward, and generating outs.  To some high-level logic, you’d think that Major League Baseball players, the supposed crème of the crop when it comes to baseball talent in the world, should have a field day with all these garbage pitches, and sometimes they do, but still, a lot of the time, the guys are still running into outs via groundballs or some hard-hit flyballs.

Like, I’m fairly confident that if I myself, took the mound at Busch Stadium in St. Louis and faced a prime Albert Pujols ten times, sure he’d probably knock six home runs off of me, but I’d probably still manage to get him to smash some hard hit grounders or flyballs and make four outs.  On the greatest player of a generation.

What I’m getting at is the reality that baseball is still a tremendously difficult sport, and no matter the level of skill an MVP-caliber player has, they’re still failing 70% of the time to not make an out, and when you see major leaguers going up against a hapless position player on the mound, this is where it’s more prevalent than ever just how much luck is still involved in playing baseball.

Launch angle, squaring up, weather, wind conditions, temperature, the stadium; there are so many variables involved when a batter swings the bat, that have nothing to do with playing baseball except they have everything to do with playing baseball, because they still have influence over the outcome of a ball in play.

Yet, the vast majority of Major League organizations pay out the nose for guys who might defy luck just a little bit more than their counterparts might.  I haven’t said much about the resolution to the strike, primarily because of time, but naturally I hit the nail on the head when it came to the obvious fact that it was all about rich assholes trying to make more money, in all parties involved.

Guys are paid for luck basically, which seems pretty sill in the grand spectrum of things.  Even the league minimum was raised to an absurd $700,000, so that means the last guy on the bench, who’s usually the worst hitter on a 25-28 man roster, is clearing more than half a million dollars to succumb to luck more than everyone else.  Bless this country for having so much wealth distribution to where shitty ballplayers can make more than medical heroes and world class educators.

But that’s baseball, and well, professional sports in general.  A bunch of guys living the dream, of being marginally better at not failing than other people, to where they can make gobs and gobs of money to play children’s games.

lol baseball indeed.

Someone teach me how to pull the trigger

Whenever I want to spend money on things that I know are things that I really don’t need and would usually be considered frivolous, I often times open them in a tab.  And then on almost a daily basis, whether I do it myself or it refreshes on its own after a restart or a browser reset, I look longingly at it, but don’t pull the trigger.  And then after enough time, the good in question inevitably sells out or goes unavailable, and I am left empty handed, and wondering why the fuck I just didn’t pull the trigger and buy it.

It’s not like I don’t have the disposable money in order to get it.  I have cash earned through survey apps, funds saved up from gifts from the past, and I’m sitting on a nice chunk of change in the form of Visa gift cards that I’ve earned throughout the last few months.

But maybe it’s the Korean in me that doesn’t like to spend money, but so often times is the case, I just can’t bring myself to actually pull the trigger on any of these frivolous things that I want.

There was this Freddie Freeman bobblehead that I had the tab open for like three weeks that I never pulled on, and now it’s sold out, and now that he’s moved onto the fucking Dodgers, this is now a true collectible and I won’t get one when they release.  I had my eyes on some Pakistani replica blets that were very reasonably priced that I just couldn’t bring myself to pull the trigger on, and they’re now unavailable currently, with no idea when they’ll ever, if at all, come back.

Numerous virtual runs that I intend on doing, now that I’ve gotten back into exercising, I’ve sat on them and probably missed out on at least 3-4 price increases; I know I want to do them, why the fuck am I waiting until the price increases, multiple times, before I actually get my ass in gear and register?

These are all things that I want and can afford to purchase.  But for whatever reason, I just have the hardest fucking time when it comes to pulling the trigger and parting with any of my actual money, regardless of if it’s for something I want.  Somewhere along the passage of time, I’ve become crippled at the ability to impulsively purchase things, which isn’t necessarily always a bad thing, but considering the fact that I’m actively missing out on very easily available things because I wait, or I end up paying more for things, because I wait, I’m just fucking myself, repeatedly.

Sure, there are all sorts of jokes about Koreans being cheap, or me being a cheapskate, but it’s like there’s a part of me that is so anti-stuff, that I struggle to bring myself to actually spend money on things that will just take up more space in my house.  Or I’m always preparing for the next unexpected expense or debt, that I have completely lost sight of the present, despite the fact that such a cost would usually come from a different bucket anyway.

Or perhaps this is just some sort of mental condition, the inability to be decisive when it comes to spending money on frivolous shit?  Either way, I feel like I need to be shown how to pull the trigger, because I certainly can’t seem to do it on my own very well these days.

I can’t say I’m surprised, but still: fuck the Braves

It’s just business: Atlanta Braves trade four prospects for Oakland A’s first baseman, Matt Olson; and then promptly sign him to an 8-year, $168M extension, metaphorically throwing in the towel at the possibility of re-signing franchise icon, Freddie Freeman

To me, the most disappointing thing about this whole turn of events is the perception that the Braves didn’t even really try and re-sign Freddie Freeman.  Sure, the lockout was a great big elephant in the room that got in the way of business, but it’s not like the Braves didn’t have an entire year, or even the nearly two months after Freeman helped bring a fucking World Series title to the franchise, to do something to secure Freeman in Atlanta.

But then again, that’s now how the Braves work, because the in spite of the perception that the team isn’t as data-savvy as teams like the Oakland A’s, Tampa Bay Rays and other Moneyball internet nerds love franchises, the Braves are basically MIT bean counting wizards in the accounting department.  Anything to keep profits up, shareholder value high, and revenues flowing, and absolutely anything, anything at all that threatens some old white guy getting $2.9 million dollars instead of $3 million dollars, is problematic and needs to be eliminated, no matter the perception, optics or disappointing the less-important stakeholders AKA those asshole fans.

Sure, I’m sure there’s all sorts of actual truth about how the Braves tried, truly tried, behind closed doors and in private, and/or perhaps I’ve just had my ear so far away from the ground that I missed it all, but still, the general perception that I get is that the Braves hardly even tried to retain Freddie Freeman, and by acquiring a guy like Matt Olson, and immediately giving him a massive extension, just kind of reads like the franchise just held a big middle finger up to the guy that not only was the undeniable face of the entire baseball team, but also just helped bring a fucking World Series trophy to the goddamn city.

Continue reading “I can’t say I’m surprised, but still: fuck the Braves”